By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
DURING this time of Emancipation celebration, our thoughts remind us to be more grateful for life in the Bahamas of the 21st century than we may otherwise be.
It is true that we are in danger of being enslaved by new masters in the form of drugs, crime, promiscuity and domestic violence. At least we are free to talk about it and to work together to ameliorate the situation, but we all need to be involved in making change happen.
Genesis 17:1-8 (NRSV) is a passage of promises made that are being fulfilled even today. We are also the children of Abraham by adoption, who have Jesus Christ as the One who establishes a New Covenant on our behalf.
God says concerning the Old Covenant: “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”
This promise was made to Abram when he was 99 years old.
What do you think God may say to you when you are at this ripe old age? Are you living in such a way as to still be alive, if it is based on moderate lifestyle, self-discipline and joyful-living? Are you already disqualifying yourself from meaningful ministry because you consider yourself too old to still serve the Lord and you are twenty or thirty years younger than Abram?
We are told that the Lord appeared to Abram and spoke to him. What a personal experience, and how wonderful it is that Abram could respond by falling face down to the ground to worship God. Do we have this type of awe and reverence for God? Is it likely that if our family members and friends, our children and grand-children (if we are older) were to visit us unexpectedly that they would discover us in a posture of prayer, reading Scripture, or singing praises to God? Are we exercising our freedom to worship with a grateful heart and steadfast faith?
The promises of God are given with the condition: “walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your number.” It is indeed strange that Abram had only one son, Isaac. God could have allowed Abram to have many children, but instead the future of the race rested on this one son. Those who insist on having many outside of marriage in order to preserve their heritage or name, refuse to believe that God will bless obedience.
Our slavery is a historical fact that came to an end legally on a particular day at a specific time, August 1, 1834, but those who did not hear the news continued to live under the same conditions until the message of liberation was delivered.
The same is true for those who have not yet received and believed the message of salvation that sets us free from the bondage of sin. All of God’s people have been given the general word of love and blessing, but if we remain alert, we may also have our own personal encounters with more private promises and blessings.